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Rebecca Brewer

12 November — 17 December, 2016

Catri­ona Jef­fries is pleased to present Rebec­ca Brewer’s most recent series of paint­ings and large scale felt works. The exhibition’s cen­tral con­stel­la­tion of paint­ings embod­ies, oblique­ly, the four stages of a day — dawn, noon, sun­set and dusk – artic­u­lat­ing both the light and psy­chic con­di­tions that char­ac­ter­ize them for the artist her­self. Per­form­ing as con­ceiv­able win­dows, the paint­ings con­tem­plate times of day as tran­si­tions through men­tal and phys­i­cal states. The work reflects on wake­ful­ness and exhaus­tion, posit­ing a space in between: a non-bina­ry vital­i­ty of weari­ness – weari­ness both as a space of inten­si­ty and as a secret knowl­edge or insight.

In rela­tion, four hang­ing felt works are to be con­sid­ered from both sides, the phys­i­cal and time inten­sive process of felt­ing on this scale in direct con­ver­sa­tion with the sur­round­ing paint­ing. While the tem­po­ral process of paint­ing itself can be a con­tem­pla­tive bod­i­ly action, the severe­ly phys­i­cal and time con­sum­ing act of bind­ing fibres togeth­er in felt­ing is one of direct medi­a­tion through bod­i­ly activ­i­ty. The planes and depth in both medi­ums push and pull, as rec­og­niz­able forms and lines con­jure images and then recede into com­plex com­po­si­tions in colour and tex­ture. Snakes merge into the lead­ing of stained glass, on which hang clothes; cob­webs, flow­ers, vines, mol­lusks and moths appear and fade.

Work­ing with ref­er­ences to alter­na­tive visu­al his­to­ries from fem­i­nism, occultism and alter­na­tive med­i­cine – sources that par­al­lel and con­trast the artis­tic canon — Brew­er pro­pos­es an altered expe­ri­ence. Cel­e­brat­ing neu­ro­di­ver­si­ty and trans­mun­dane expe­ri­ence as a form of resis­tance, as opposed to cel­e­brat­ing the avant garde, Brew­er asks “can we queer the art his­tor­i­cal canon?” Her net­work of research and ref­er­ences include, but are not lim­it­ed to: pop-psy­chol­o­gy, psy­cho­analy­sis, neu­ro­science, synaes­the­sia, auto­mat­ic paint­ing, Ital­ian sot­to­bosco (lit­er­al­ly under­growth) paint­ing, intel­li­gent sys­tems in the plant and ani­mal world, dark ecol­o­gy, Alice Miller’s ther­a­py paint­ings and the Occult sig­ils of Art Nou­veau artist Austin Osman Spare.

Rebec­ca Brew­er (b. 1983, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Van­cou­ver, Cana­da. Her prac­tice is cen­tered in paint­ing as a dis­course, span­ning mate­r­i­al approach­es from con­ven­tion­al paint­ing media to tex­tiles and print­mak­ing. The work takes as a giv­en an inter­re­la­tion­ship between cog­ni­tion and per­cep­tion, abstrac­tion and rep­re­sen­ta­tion and looks to his­tor­i­cal prece­dents that explore this non-dual­is­tic premise in art. Brew­er address­es the arti­fi­cial divi­sions between sen­sa­tion and intel­lect, intu­ition and exper­i­men­tal meth­ods, the emo­tion­al lives of pro­duc­ers and the activisms of their projects.  Solo exhi­bi­tions include ‘The Writ­ten Face’ at Catri­ona Jef­fries (2014), and ‘Nine Paint­ings of Ayn Rand’ at Exer­cise (2012). Her work has been includ­ed in group exhi­bi­tions, includ­ing ‘Van­cou­ver Spe­cial: Ambiva­lent Plea­sures’, Van­cou­ver Art Gallery (forth­com­ing 2016); ‘The Fraud that Goes Under the Name of Love’, Audain Gallery, Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty, Van­cou­ver (2016); ‘L’intruse’, Mar­celle Alix, Paris (2014); and ‘Skirt the Par­lour, and Shun the Zoo’, Wal­ter Philips Gallery, Banff (2013). Brew­er received an MFA from Bard Col­lege in 2013, a BFA from Emi­ly Carr Insti­tute of Art and Design in 2007, and she was the win­ner of the RBC Paint­ing Com­pe­ti­tion in 2011.


Texts by Anne Boy­er, Amy Kazymer­chyk, and cheyanne turi­ons here